A startup that tried to overhaul political fundraising has fallen victim to partisanship. You could think of Crowdpac as a Kickstarter for political candidates, but the venture-backed startup failed to achieve enough scale, revenue, and venture funding; it told clients on Tuesday that it will shut down next month. It’s a death that speaks to how hard it is for a nonpartisan fundraising tool to gain traction in the Trump age, when everything is partisan. “The political climate was: You could not be nonpartisan,” says Gisel Kordestani, Crowdpac’s CEO. “And we learned that the hard way.”
[Theodore Schleifer / Recode]
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The new frontier in online advertising is targeting you based on your emotions. Are you sad reading this newsletter? Amused? Nostalgic? That’s a question an advertiser might ask in the future, as media companies like the New York Times sell ad placements based on the emotions it predicts readers might feel when reading a story. The Times says it has collected about 30 possible emotional reactions, but don’t worry — only 18 of them are available to use for ad targeting. “Emotion-based advertising can seem similarly simplistic, limiting, and downright weird,” writes Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany.
[Kaitlyn Tiffany / Vox]
Baltimore city employees can’t access their computers. Blame the hackers. Recode’s Emily Stewart explains the craziness unfolding in Baltimore: “Hackers digitally seized about 10,000 Baltimore government computers and demanded around $100,000 worth in bitcoins to free them back up. It’s a so-called ‘ransomware’ attack, where hackers deploy malicious software to block access to or take over a computer system until the owner of that system pays a ransom.” What that means is city employees can’t access their emails, and citizens can’t pay parking tickets or water bills or the like. And Baltimore is refusing to pay the ransom, so this situation has now gone on for two weeks.
[Emily Stewart / Recode]
How tech billionaires are tricking society with their “bribing.” Give a listen to Anand Giridharadas, a vocal critic of philanthropy and the power of global billionaires, in a new episode of Recode Decode with Kara Swisher. Giridharadas believes that the super-rich, from Jeff Bezos to Mark Zuckerberg, have used philanthropy to defend themselves from criticism and to try to look like the good guys. “This is a refeudalization,” Giridharadas says.
[Eric Johnson / Recode]
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